Address by President Nelson Mandela at the commissioning of the Moretele Water Project

14 October 1995

Honourable Ministers;
Acting Premier of the North-West Province;
Distinguished guests;
Ladies and gentlemen.

Not long ago we came here to launch the Moretele Water Supply Scheme. We gave ourselves six months to get the water flowing. I have come back to Maubane today to see for myself that the goal has indeed been achieved and that the first taps are running.

This first phase which is coming to fruition today was also the first RDP Presidential Lead Project for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation. About 130,000 people will be getting secure supplies of clean drinking water from this phase. The next phase begins today.

All over the world water is regarded as precious as life itself. Here in South Africa it is even more than life. And yet for 48 years and more, millions of our people were not regarded as worthy of this simple but basic necessity. We have had to await the coming of democracy.

And so we are able today to open the taps here and at Sekampaneng, a community that was in the past deprived of water for political reasons.

Maubane has chosen to make the school the beneficiaries of the first tap. Because as South Africans we value our children.

I am informed that key aspects of the second phase are designed by a young black woman engineer. After studying abroad Uhuru Madida has come back to serve her people. And we congratulate her.

Today in South Africa children have opportunities which she lacked. We are confident that amongst the children of this community who will be using the water more engineers, workers, teachers and other leaders will emerge and continue the tradition of serving the people.

Congratulations to the community of Odi-Moretele, to the North West Government, to the Ministry of Water Affairs and the RDP Office for a job well done.

The project whose success we are registering today confirms that working together, we can make it make happen where we live.

I thank you.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation